A scheme to wrap up claims within a year of issue is set to permanently adopted after a three-year trial. Amendments will be made to the Civil Procedure Rules to provide for the Shorter Trials Scheme to operate from next month in the Business and Property Courts.
The scheme creates a streamlined procedure with a docketed judge leading to judgment within 12 months of proceedings being issued. Trials are limited to a maximum of four days with judgment published within six weeks. Claimants initiate the process and approach defendants about resolving the case, with a judge able to intervene if the parties cannot agree.
Practitioners have been largely supportive since a pilot was introduced in 2015. Although the scheme is restricted to cases with limited disclosure or witness evidence, there is no limit on the size of cases, with some worth several million pounds reportedly resolved through the process.
Ed Crosse, disputes partner at Simmons & Simmons and immediate past president of the London Solicitors Litigation Association, said: ‘For appropriate cases the scheme offers the chance of securing the determination of a dispute in a substantially shorter period and, critically, of avoiding costly disclosure, protracted evidence, delay, lengthy trials and cost budgets.’